Sir Richard Branson’s banking venture - Virgin Money - completed its £747m purchase of Newcastle- based Northern Rock from the Government last week and with Richard Branson in the North East today talking to staff and customers the future for the 2,000 staff looks rosier.
Branson has pledged to expand the bank with a target of 200-250 branches nationwide as he takes on the high street banks.The picture for Newcastle United is also rosier as Virgin Money confirmed a deal to sponsor the club until the 2014-15 season.
Virgin Money chief executive Jayne-Anne Gadhia said: “Now that Virgin Money and Northern Rock are united as one business, it gives us great pleasure to continue the shirt sponsorship of Newcastle.
“The Northern Rock sponsorship started in 2003 and it is an important link to the North-East, which we are pleased to continue.
“Combined with our sponsorship of the London Marathon and the Edinburgh Festival ‘Fringe on the High Street’, the shirt sponsorship of Newcastle United Football Club embeds our involvement in the communities we serve.”
Newcastle’s managing director, Derek Llambias, said: “We’re delighted to secure this new deal with Virgin Money.”
Virgin Money has moved its headquarters to Northern Rock’s Gosforth base, where about 2,000 staff are employed and after originally saying the old brand would remain for now, an about turn saw the team wear the new shirts for the first time against manchester United last week.
With the change coming mid-season and the fact some fans will have received replica strips for Christmas, Virgin Money said the first 10,000 supporters with 2011-12 season shirts who take them to Newcastle United’s club shop will receive a free update to the Virgin Money shirt.
Ms Gadhia said: “Availability of this new branding will be posted on the club website, but is expected at the end of the week.”